Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic Guitar, reviews, comments

Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic Guitar
Gloss Natural
Dreadnought body style
Laminate Spruce top
Sapele back and sides
Rosewood Fingerboard
Synthetic bone nut and saddle

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Comments / reviews:
I have been researching guitars and discovered Takamine and how they get such great reviews for their NEX body style and big sound. Takamine's are quite expensive and since the body style seems different than most, didn't want to spend that much. Takamine is the maker of this Jasmine guitar and it is the same design as their expensive guitars that can cost well over $1000. I discovered this guitar online and bought this guitar because of all the good reviews that I see on Amazon and other guitar sites. Wanted an acoustic with a cut out but didn't want to break the bank. It seemed by the reviews that maybe it was too good to be true.

The photos attached show two Jasmine Guitars, on the Left, this guitar, the S34C NEX (matte) and on the right the Jasmine JO36-Nat (gloss) - The JO36 is a slightly smaller body style and is very comfortable, more so that the NEX body. The sound is great and the neck is nearly the same. Would highly recommend for smaller guitar players and works great for my big hands too! You can also see the differences in the head stock design and the tuners are quite different. The NEX tuners seem better. All in all both are great quality and an awesome value. (I did not get paid for this review or any discounts, bought these with my hard earned cash and am writing a review, because these really are great guitars!)

This review is for the Jasmine S34C NEX

Packaging:
When I opened the package, I was disappointed in Amazon's packaging as the head stock was slightly damaged. Overlooking this fact, I tuned it up and played it for a while.

Strings:
The strings are not the greatest, but the guitar itself is spectacular! Yes, it is a laminated spruce top, but the sound is rich, warm lows and mids and bright highs. It almost has the sound of a solid cedar top guitar (but it is not). The back and side are sapele which some call mahogany, but it is absolutely beautiful! I also own a Taylor GS Mini Mahogany and it also is sapele, and has a rich warm boom with bright notes. First thing that I did to this Jasmine guitar was replace the strings with Martin MFX130 Flexible Core Silk & Phosphor strings and what I thought was a decent guitar, suddenly become a dream! With these strings the guitar really comes to life. Although at first they are a bit bright for my tastes, after a couple of weeks they really tame down and become warm and rich.

Quality of workmanship:
I was expecting workmanship of an $80 guitar, what I got quality of a guitar worth hundreds more. The finish of this guitar is a beautiful satin finish, I was expecting gloss as the description showed, but was pleasantly surprised to have matte, which I prefer. The body is clean and smooth and has a nice feel, the neck is also matte and just feels great in your hands. The top is a spruce laminate and is darker than one might expect, not yellowish like most spruce tops, but a deeper tanish color, similar to some cedar top guitars that I have seen from Breedlove. I really like the color of the top and the back, which is sapele has a nice natural color and perfectly matches the sides. The black trim really gives the guitar a rich look and it is smooth and perfectly finished. The neck is not quite the same color as the back, but acceptable. The headstock is a nicer design that the one in the photo of the description, not sure if there are different model years from one to the other, I bought mine Jan 2017. The chrome tuners are smooth and keep it in tune very well, not complaints here at all. The Jasmine lettering on the headstock is a subtle gold, not inlaid but printed.
This is not a small guitar. While it is smaller than a Jumbo, not by much. It is near the size of a Dreadnought, a smaller waist helps it to be more comfortable and the sound is comparable to a dreadnought.

Playability:
The neck of this guitar with the matte finish and 12" radius is a big bonus, it has the feel of an electric guitar. I have big hands and the 1.75" nut is great for fingerstyle as well. The intonation at the 12th fret is near perfect, with no setup out of the box. The finish on the fret ends could be smoother, but it is not bad. The action is spot on and no adjustment was needed for my style. It can be strummed hard and that huge NEX body packs a punch. It does not sound like a $1000 Taylor, but really with the right setup and strings, it is not $900+ different!

Final Thoughts:
After buying this guitar, I almost would like to have a second one to keep for when I wear this one out, its that good, especially the cost makes it even more attractive since the quality and playability is so great. I would recommend this to most beginners, smaller adults and kids might be challenged by the size, but I see lots of little kids playing dreadnoughts, so this would be better. If your an intermediate or long time guitar player, I don't think you would be disappointed, not expect a $1500 guitar, but I have had some expensive guitars, where this one shines over those. So, no matter what level of guitar player you are, Run don't Walk to the Buy Now, JUST BUY IT!

The Jasmine S34C is an outstanding value.

I'm still having a bit of a diffiuclt time reconciling the guitar I received with the amount of money I spent for it.

Mine arrived earlier this date, with the factory box inside a larger Amazon box and more than adequately cushioned from movement with plenty of crumpled packing paper.

The guitar inside the factory box proved to about as perfect in build quality as human hands and machines can make such a thing out of the materials it is made from. I inspected mine very throughly before tuning it to pitch and trying it out -including examining the body interior with the sort of inspection mirror used in automotive repair. I looked for flaws, expecting to find some, but I didn't

THE NECK: The tuning machines on my example have a positive feel with no backlash in the gears. The nut on my example is of the correct height and is correctly slotted. The fingerboard is a very nice piece of rosewood. The dot inlays on it were correctly done. The frets on mine are all level, properly crowned, polished, and end-dressed. The binding on the neck was skillfully and correctly applied. The neck appears to have been set at an appropriate angle. The satin-matte finish on the neck makes it a fast and smooth thing to slide the hand upon. There is a metal strap button applied in the exact spot I'd have put one on the neck heel myself had one not have been supplied.

THE BODY: The laminate sapele on my example is all uniform in general color, with beautifully figured grain. The binding on the body is perfectly executed. Inside the body, everything is neat and tidy -no globs of glue, no whiskered wood. The top on the insturment is often billed as "select spurce." It is a laminated top, but on my example, you have look very, very closely at the end grain of the wood around the sound hole to tell. It appears to be a solid, voidless board, faced top and bottom with almost paper-thin spruce veneers. The laminated top on this instrument reminds me of the tops used on the old "Nippon Gakki" Yamaha instruments. The satin-matte finish so perfectly and evenly applied to the back and side of my example was equally well done on my instrument's top. The simple inlaid black and white ring celluoid or abs rosette around the soundhole was flawlessly done, too. My instrument came with the pick gaurd installed, but I removed it immediately upon completing my inspection of the instrument. It was easily removed by simply slowly peeling it off the sound board, leaving no residue behind. I wrapped it in wax paper as soon as I removed it, so it could be re-installed later, if someone was inclined to do so. I bought this guitar to do lead work on and for that, I generally pick with my bare thumb, index, and middle finger, rather than use a plectrum, so the "scratch plate" isn't something I need on this instrument -hence my desire to remove it.

INITITIAL IMPRESSIONS: This is a light and shockingly resonant and responsive instrument and it is pretty much tailor-made for my style of play. Where responsiveness to picking and pick attack is concerned, I couldn't be more pleased. It has very even volume response up, down, and across the fingerboard with equal attack equalling equal volume wherever a note is fingered. Mine has a substantial amount of sustain, too. I tuned it to pitch and played it for about an hour and a half, using the whole neck, and playing pieces with plenty of single string and double-stop bends, lots of hammer-ons and pull offs, and etc. I'm having a hard time believing that a new guitar would stay in tune through all of that, but it did.

Tone-wise, I would describe mine as "sweet" and "clear" without being overly "tinny" or overly accentuating the high-end of the tonal spectrum.It has very good note separation, too, in spite of having almost too much sustain. It seems to generate enough volume when picked with the bare flesh of my thumb, index, and middle fingers to work well with microphones -something I'll have a go at tomorrow. Strummed with a plecturm or flat-picked, it puts out a lot of volume for an all-laminate body instrument.

It reminds me of everything I liked about my first guitar -an Ovation Balladeer, being similar to that in terms of response to pick attack, even volume and sustain response all over the fingerboard, and being close in terms of tone. What I am still amazed by as I write this is that when I first started playing guitar back in 1980, $30.66 had the same buying power then that the price I paid for my S34C has today, but back in 1980, there wasn't such a thing as a playable guitar to be had for that kind of money.

In sum, the Jasmine S34C I received isn't just "a good guitar for the money." It's just a good guitar. Period and full stop.

The only "con" to it that I can come up with is that it shipped to me with insanely high string action. I can remedy this easily enough through simply sanding a few thousanths of an inch off the bottom of the bridge. And it isn't really a "con" per se, because even expensive guitars need a "set up".

Otherwise, it seems entirely well suited for what I bought it for -an insturment for finger-picked acoustic lead or solo guitar. It isn't something I'd want to flat-pick fiddle tunes on or back a bluegrass jam with as it lacks the "punch" and powerful bass of a good dreadnaught-style guitar. But it seems all peaches and sunshine for what I bought it for and hoped it would do.

My expectations were high based on the number of positive reviews this instrument gets. My example has exceeded those expectations.

UPDATE 3/7/2016: After giving the instrument some time to acclimate to its new surroundings, I set the insturment up to my taste, tweaking the truss rod a little to get exactly ten thousandths of an inch of neck relief and popping a lower saddle in the bridge to get the string height over the 12th fret where I like it -using a U.S. quarter-dollar coin as a height gauge. I then strung it up with Ernie Ball Earthwood extra-light silk and steel. I only thought I was impressed with instrument as it came from the box. After setting it up and re-stringing it, I am even more impressed than I was initially. This instrument simply doesn't play or sound like the "cheap plywood box" that it essentially is. It is a highly resonant, sweet singing, responsive guitar, even when strung with extra-light silk and steel strings, and even when picking it with my bare thumb, index, and middle finger as I am wont to do. Tuning stability has also proven to be really good so far. Since receiving this, I've already gigged it, where it took nothing more exotic than a humble Sure SM-57 aimed at the 14th fret to get stellar live sound. I've also found that it records really well. To say that I am amazed with this instrument is a bit of an understatement. I'm so impressed with mine that I have literally just purchased another Jasmine S34C from Amazon! Having a second one will allow me to have one in standard tuning and another in altered tuning, and alternate between them in live performance, instead of having to constantly re-tune just one of them. If this second one that I have just ordered is as good as the first one I received, the plan is to put K&K pickup systems in both of them.

First the bad: this guitar came with low quality strings that were corroded and unplayable in my opinion. The first thing that I did before even playing it was to change the strings.

If you are a beginner this may be a problem unless you know someone who can do it for you. If not, I suggest you purchase a string winder (B0002E1G5C), a set of good strings (B0002H09RU) and a guitar tuner (B003VWJ2K8.) Find a web page or YouTube video that explains how to change the strings on an acoustic guitar. However you may get a guitar with a shiny set of new strings that sound great and this won't be a problem. But you will need the stuff that I mentioned later if you keep up with your playing. Actually if you are a beginner you will need a guitar tuner -- buy one with your guitar. You will never sound like you are making progress with an out-of-tune guitar.

The good: This is a surprisingly nice guitar for very little money. I needed a "crasher" guitar that I wouldn't feel guilty if I bumped it around and a second Takamine guitar for a gift. I purchased this along with the slightly less expensive Jasmine By Takamine S35 Acoustic Guitar (B0002F58TG). This guitar has a little better sound than the S35 -- deeper bass and crisper highs. Also different is the shape of this guitar's body which looks sleeker and cooler than the more traditional S35. Also this guitar has a cutaway for access to the higher frets and on my guitar the intonation up there was not bad.

I find the fingerboard to be a bit slow for faster lead playing but maybe the guitar just needs to be broken in.

This is a nice looking, nice playing and nice sounding guitar. Rather than take someone's word about the sound of the guitar, I made a video so you could hear for yourself.

You can't go wrong.

You can get a pretty good guitar for very little money these days.

I am a beginner, but I have a old Yamaha classical acoustic guitar I take out an play around with every once in a while. I got this S34C for $99. I changed the strings as soon as I got it for a set of Ernie Ball Earthwood medium light strings. I also change the saddle for a TUSQ saddle.

When I first pulled it out of the box I was struck with how much lighter and cheaper it just looked and felt compared to my Yamaha. It is definitely a lower end factory guitar. But keep reading, this review doesn't stop there. So I took the original strings off and after sanding down the new saddle to fit, swapped that out then put on the new strings. and tuned it up.

This is where I was kind of blown away. First I know a regular acoustic guitar sounds different then the mellow sound of a classical acoustic guitar. But WOW for a $100 guitar, this thing really rings out! It projects, resonates and sustains much, much better than you would expect for a beginner guitar. My daughter, who has a Masters in music performance, came out from another room when I started strumming on it just to comment that it was loud and sounded good.

I am very pleasantly surprised by the quality of sound from this very inexpensive guitar. If you are just starting and don't want to invest hundreds of dollars, or you just want a kick around guitar, you cannot go wrong with this instrument. You will need to at the very least change the crappy strings that it ships with.

Great little guitar for the money. I'd have given it 5 stars but it needed a setup badly upon arrival. The truss rod needed some adjustment as the neck relief was too much and the action was way too high making the guitar near unplayable. Sanding down the bridge saddle was what took me the most time to get right as it's somewhat of a trial and error process. You don't want to take too much off and then have to shim or replace the saddle so it's just better to go a little bit at a time. After that, the guitar is pretty decent and plays well, not quite as nice a player as my Ovation but still good and she sounds great. I even installed a Cherub GT-6 pickup and preamp system in mine.

JC
Mine arrived with a crack in the x-bracing under the top, visible through the sound hole. :( It wasn't an easy choice, but I decided to return it for a replacement (which ironically - is going to take a long time to arrive. If i had just returned this one and bought another I would have had it tomorrow, instead of what looks like a week from now. Not a huge deal because this one is still playable meanwhile.) I have a Takamine but wanted a beater guitar I don't have to worry about, so it was natural to go with a Jasmine.

It is a really nice guitar and I like it a lot, hence the 4 stars for a defective guitar. Almost kept it and tried to just glue the x bracing. It was a hard decision to return this beauty. But I knew it would bug me forever. Hoping the replacement is as beautiful as this one I have. It's really a pretty guitar and sounds very nice. Rosewood fingerboard is just beautiful All of it is very nicely done. Too bad for the crack in it. It didn't come extra packaged or anything. Surprisingly it was just in a cardboard guitar box with light thin foam wrapping on the guitar itself.

Really hoping the replacement is defect free because I like it that much! I will update this review when it arrives.

I bought this guitar after much searching for the right guitar for a beginner.
I have been taking lessons for about 4 months now, and am very satisfied.
This guitar was $94, and plays, and sounds like one of twice that value. Perfect for a beginner. I like it because it is slightly smaller than a dreadnought which makes it easer for a beginner to control.
I recommend it for the TRUE BEGINNER that don't know ANYTHING about guitars, and whether they will still want to continue to play after about 3 months. So, if you stop you have only spent $100. I was in that group. On the other hand, if you have some experience, and KNOW that you will continue go ahead, and spend $200 - $400 on something like a nice acoustic, or acoustic electric. Yamaha would be my recommendation for that group after endless research into the LESS THAN $1000 guitars. (you may have a different opinion if you are an experienced player)
The only negative remark that I can make about this guitar is that the top string (number 6, E string) is a bit muddy which is to be expected in a cheap guitar. Not so muddy that it matters most of the time, but a little muddy.

I cannot believe this guitar costs $94. I've played guitar for 27 years and have owned quite a few. This guitar is surprisingly very well made and sounds great for the price. I would expect the price to be triple. Granted, it does not resonate like a $3k Martin, but this is a really nice guitar. I bought it as a travel guitar that I wouldn't be upset if it got damaged.

I shopped guitars at our local guitar shop, on line, talked to guys who play guitar, etc. The Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic was my final choice. I was persuaded by the number of positive reviews and the well known quality of Takamine/Jasmine/Ovation guitars. It didn't hurt that the guitar is a huge bargain! I tuned it a couple of times to stretch the strings and right out of the box it sounds great! A week later I had new strings and a little bridge and nut work done at my local guitar shop The workmanship and finish is excellent It's been decades since I've played so it's nice to have a really good re-beginner guitar to work with. 7/6/16 Follow up; I continue to be amazed at the tone and sustain of this guitar. For the price this guitar is a steal even considering the little set-up work needed. It's rare that any acoustic guitar arrives with a perfect set-up.

I'm a sax player who has been having an on/off passion for learning jazz guitar. I'm also a business owner and have
limited time at home, and spend most of my daily hours at my retail store. I have a nice archtop guitar at home, but wanted an inexpensive acoustic guitar to keep at the store to practice and play during slow times. After MUCH research and almost buying useless cheap junk for a few dollars less, I decided to go for the Jasmine S34C NEX. I bought it from Amazon for $112.91 delivered to my door ($103.97 plus tax, and free shipping). I wasn't at ALL pleased at how it was packed-- Very tightly and with hardly any cushioning-- I was actually surprised that it arrived with no major damage.. It did suffer a ding in the top of the headstock (I can't tell whether that occurred at the factory or during shipment), but I decided to not sweat it, since it's perfect otherwise. It came with brand new shiny bronze wound strings, and although the guitar does have a truss rod (a feature usually found on more expensive guitars, and also comes with a hex wrench to adjust the rod) I find the action and intonation satisfactory, so I haven't messed with adjustments of any kind, at least not yet. Maybe I was lucky, but the guitar is set up such that the action is nice and comfortable (1/8" at the 12th fret at the 6th string-- which to me is perfect for an acoustic guitar) and there is NO buzzing anywhere all the way up and down the fingerboard. Speaking of frets, it has 21, and the neck joins the body at the 14th. It even has a compensated bridge. The guitar has a very pleasing and rustic matte finish, as opposed to gloss, giving it a more "woodsy" and vintage feel rather than shiny and slick. This will also not show fingerprints and smudges, another plus. Since my archtop has a cutaway, I appreciate the cutaway on this. The lower bout is a comfortable 15.5" wide, which actually makes this guitar more comfortable to hold and play than my 17" archtop. There are 2 strap buttons (one on the bottom and one on the neck heel), so you don't have to bother with tying a strap onto the base of the headstock. The tone is superb- As mentioned, I play jazz, and it delivers a nice punchy sound when strumming "Freddie Greene" style 4-to-the-bar jazz rhythm chords. It also has a nice round tone and a pleasing sustain when playing full jazz chords and single-string lines. Others mention something about sharp fret edges: NOT! Mine are nice and smooth, so no issues there. I guess my guitar was built on a Wednesday! (smile).. (and honestly, what if they're a bit sharp? I would think a few minutes with a small hobby file would fix the problem-- sorry, but I think some people are just plain wusses!).. To sum up, this guitar is so nice, I'm a little sad that it's hanging on the wall in my store as a practice instrument-- I'm tempted to take it home and stand it beside my archtop, and find something "not as nice" to kick around with at the store. VERY surprised and pleased at the feel, sound and factory setup of this $100 guitar. I wouldn't call myself a guitar expert, but I've played quite a few and I agree with those that say this plays and feels like a much more expensive instrument. Go buy one before Takamine gets wise to the great reviews and triples the price!

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